WINTHROP — Officials came to a consensus on annual license and application fees for marijuana businesses on Monday.

While there was no formal vote at Monday night’s meeting, Winthrop town councilors’ consensus will be included in an ordinance to be considered for approval at their meeting next month.

The agreement was based on information gathered by Ed Vigneault of the Planning Board and presented in the council packet. Vigneault’s report was the result of a survey of six towns in central and southern Maine with adult-use and medical marijuana ordinances similar to the one Winthrop will consider in November.

The survey looked at median prices and price ranges for several types of businesses, and the consensus of the board was to go with median prices for all but adult-use cultivation facilities. For these, they decided to go with the upper limit of the range.

“I realize they have to invest in filtration, fans, hydroponics, and all that stuff, but given the vast quantity they can grow in a space that’s up to 2,000 square feet or 7,000 square feet, I just think (the median) is a little low,” said Councilor Elizabeth Peters.

With adult-use cultivation being such a high profit area, she suggested going up to the maximum range for each type of facility in this category.

“We’re going to have marijuana farms everywhere in this town, and I just think if you’re gonna grow, then you’re gonna pay to play, because it’s a very profitable business in the adult-use area,” Peters said. “It’s different for medical marijuana; they have a whole different line of products, but I think for adult-use it should be higher.”

The maximum range price for an adult-use facility with a canopy up to 500 square feet, based on the survey, is $1,500. The maximum range for one up to 2,000 square feet is $2,500, $5,000 for up to 7,000 square feet, and $15,000 for more than 7,000 square feet.

Councilors Anthony Wess and Priscilla Jenkins said they would like to see the town charge a bit less than the maximum range for this category. Peters explained that her reasoning for supporting the maximum range is partly so Winthrop “doesn’t become a giant pot farm.”

Wess said he didn’t want to hit the top of the range as a “bow to business,” and recommended amounts that were slightly below the upper limit instead.

Councilor Linda Caprara said that going just under the maximum ultimately wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

“Like I said, it’s just a bow to the business community,” Wess said. “I don’t want to be the town that charges the maximum.”

At the moment, Peters said, there is a great demand for cultivation facilities due to a short supply.

“We are getting recreational tourism right now,” she said. “We’re getting tourists that are coming here for recreational marijuana. What I’m proposing we do for the fees is a drop in the bucket compared to what they will make if they can grow that large of a quantity in that large of a space. It’s nothing to them.”

Based on the survey, the median annual licensing fee price for other types of businesses are: $2,000 for a medical marijuana registered dispensary; $1,400 for a medical marijuana caregiver retail store; $1,500 for an adult-use marijuana store; $420 for a medical marijuana large-scale caregiver operation; $420 for a medical marijuana multiple registered caregiver facility; $1,250 for a medical marijuana manufacturing facility or a medical marijuana IHS extraction operation; and $1,400 for an adult-use marijuana products manufacturing facility, a medical marijuana testing facility or an adult use marijuana testing facility.

Vigneault’s survey also found that state license application fees range from $200 to $400, which covers the basic cost of the review process.

The board’s consensus on the license application was to go with the lower range.

The Town Council’s next meeting, according to the municipal website, is Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.


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